With many cinemas due to reopen next month – pending the official government go-ahead – thoughts are turning to a big question: what exactly will be showing? Post-lockdown, the release slate has taken on a skeletal look as studios and distributors have pushed movies back to later in the year. ‘Tenet’, ‘Mulan’ and a few smaller indie films like ‘Proxima’ and ‘Make Up’ are scheduled, but that’s about it.
But in the kind of innovation that could only come together during this unprecedented time, 450 movies will be available for cinemas to help lure us all to them in early and mid-July. The aim is to get cinemagoers back in the habit before the big blockbusters arrive at the end of the month.
This slate has a something-for-everyone ethos, so there are classics, superhero movies, indie favourites, family staples and event cinema hits, as well as comedies, docs, musicals, horror films, romances and sci-fis.
Highlights include all three Christopher Nolan ‘Batman’ movies, all eight ‘Harry Potter’ films, ‘The Empire Strikes Back’, ‘Amy’, ‘Hot Fuzz’, ‘The Matrix, ‘God’s Own Country’ and ‘Lawrence of Arabia’. There are also Hollywood comedy landmarks like ‘His Girl Friday’, ‘It Happened One Night’, ‘When Harry Met Sally’ and ‘Some Like It Hot’, and foreign-language classics like ‘Battle Royale’, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon’ and ‘Oldboy’. It’s the kind of line-up that looks you square in the eye and defies you not to find something you’ll want to leave the house for.
‘This amazing collection represents all that’s great about cinema and should enthral and delight film lovers the length and breadth of the land,’ says Andy Leyshon, chief executive of the Film Distributors’ Association (FDA). ‘Cinemagoing holds such a vital role in society, able to entertain and educate in equal measure, and returning audiences will be able to once again experience the magic of film in its truest form.’
The initiative has been put together by Cinema First, an industry body comprising the FDA and the UK Cinema Association (UKCA), and is published in a document called Relaunching Cinema: Content for Recovery.
‘Some [of these are] films that people may never have seen on the big screen, and some [are films] that they will want to see again,’ says Phil Clapp, chief executive of the UKCA.
An FDA survey conducted by market research company MetrixLab found three out of four regular cinemagoers are planning to head back to cinemas when they’re open again. UKCA research found that 75 percent of people ‘want to go back but they also want to be reassured that it’s going to be a safe and enjoyable environment’, says Clapp. ‘Word of mouth will be hugely valuable, and [we expect] public sentiment to get more positive as people get more used to social distancing in other areas of their lives. Social distancing at the cinema will seem less alien to them.’
Looking to support your local cinema through this difficult period? Buy a membership at one of London’s independent cinemas.